The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra wraps up its Beethoven Festival with ol' Ludwig's mighty Symphony No. 5. Whether you're a Beethoven aficionado or only know the giant dog who stole his name, you're familiar with No. 5. It begins with four notes -- the most potent first impression in all of music -- that the composer described as "Fate knocking on the door." After that it bull rushes its way, manly and determined, through the ups and downs of a heroic struggle -- although a struggle over what remains a point of contention. And that's the beauty of the big No. 5 -- it becomes the soundtrack to each listener's struggle, whether its one of Olympian forces or the everyday struggle of getting out of bed. The symphony performs Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 under the direction of guest conductor Jaap van Zweden at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (January 31 through February 2) at Powell Symphony Hall (718 North Grand Boulevard; 314-534-1700 or www.slso.org). Tickets are $30 to $109.
Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2014